President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has admitted Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, former Finance Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria into the Grade of Dame Grand Commander.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the special ceremony, presided over by the President as Grand Master of the Master of the Order of Distinction, took place in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium on Friday in Monrovia.
President Sirleaf described the admission of Dr, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala into the Grade of Grand Dame Commander as the event she has long been looking for, especially being a champion for African women.
She referred to Dr. Iweala as a real leader and a true champion, not just for Nigeria or Africa, for while serving the World Bank.
“She was there with us in 2006 when Liberia was at the ground floor – to where we are today.
“You are an example of competence” APA reported Sirleaf as saying
President Sirleaf congratulated Iweala for her diligence and for being an example of a woman, who has set examples based on competence, integrity, commitment and patriotism in all that she did while serving not just as a Managing Director of the World Bank, but as a great friend of Liberia.
The Liberian leader said even the debts that Liberia had for Nigeria under the Nigeria Trust Fund (AfDB) she was instrumental in helping to take Liberia through her country’s Parliament and the President, which according to her, made Liberia’s debt relief program successful.
“Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been a champion for professional African women on the continent and because of that Liberia wants to give you an honor, and we want to see you continue for giving us light in the darkness for the rest of Africa.
“Thank you, for this is how far a woman can go; for you have demonstrated this not just in Nigeria but in the world.
“Her role in collaborating with the Paris Club for writing off Nigeria’s debts to the outside world during her tenure as Minister of Finance was exceptional,” President Sirleaf added.
In response, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala said she was completely overwhelmed by the honour bestowed upon her by the Government of Liberia.
She said for two reasons – first, because she has been recognized by a woman, who is highly recognized and respected by the whole world. And second, this is the first time that I have been in Liberia in many years, particularly so in Monrovia, to be cut up in a traffic jam like in Lagos, Nigeria. The Nigerian former Finance Minister said:
Despite some challenges facing Liberia, including the Ebola crisis, she was so impressed to see such traffic jam – indicating that the Liberian economy was growing at the pace of two percent in the right direction, and at a resilience level, meaning that there is a lot that has been taking place in Liberia for which she’s grateful.
She termed President Sirleaf as an amazing grace under pressure; an amazing grace who has shown fortitude and leadership despite the challenges she has been through as a leader.
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